Advent time, or a time of waiting and hope. Which? In what? In whom? Our faith speaks to us about the Incarnation, of the coming of Jesus, of his life, Passion and death. And then about the resurrection, which in Christ is already reality and will be also so for us. But why is it so important to go back to the roots of our faith?
Advent is linked to waiting: but what an annoying and tiring word it is! Better to think about today, which at least assures me something. The password is instant gratification, a bad interpretation of seize the moment, which becomes “take advantage of everything you can take advantage of, because what you leave out is lost”. But where is personal freedom then? Where is the possibility of choice? In reality it is an illusory freedom, which makes you feel without limits, but deep down keeps us prisoners, because it “obliges” us in a way to always seek gratification, without which life seems too difficult to live. This not knowing how to wait often makes us live on the surface and the waiting coincides with the project of being in continuous movement, a restlessness not of those who clearly know what they want, but of those who flee because they are afraid also of being with themselves, those without a destination if not one which is occasional and linked to the moment. Erik Fromm emphasizes that our culture tends to create individuals who no longer have courage and no longer dare to live in an exciting and intense way. We are educated to aspire to safety as the sole purpose of life. But we can only obtain this at the price of complete conformity and resignation. From this point of view security is the opposite of joy, since joy comes from a life lived intensely.
We need to rediscover the positive value of waiting, as a taste for life, or the taste for reaching a goal; the taste for planning, at this time, which is my time, there will not be another, this is the ‘today’ of God for us.
And so what does Advent have to do with it? It is an opportunity to do a little interior cleaning: sometimes the heart is too crowded and loses sight of what is central. Sometimes we need to put things in order, in the sense of making clear again the direction in which I am moving. In short, it is an opportunity to ask myself where I find myself today.
Not only: it is the rediscovering in me of a desire for a life fully lived, beyond the discouragements, the fatigue and the inevitable “it will not change anything”. It is true that we can no longer assume that the desire for fullness is called God, but certainly in the heart of each of us there is the great aspiration to a fullness of life. Advent helps us to rediscover the true expectations, that are deeper than our life, placing trust not in easy solutions, but in the Word of God which became a concrete existence in the person of Jesus.
Fr. Agostino Caletti S.J.